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Ten tips to get your home ready for Arizona’s monsoon season

A shopper pushes a cart as he runs to his vehicle during a storm in Phoenix on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. National Weather Service meteorologist Marvin Percha says the weather is a mix of Phoenix's first fall storm and leftover monsoon moisture. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher)

Thursday marked the official beginning of the Arizona monsoon that will last until Sept. 15.

As usual, there could be heavy rains, electrical storms with loads of lightning, dust storms and those big dust storms, sometimes called haboobs. Then again, there could be almost no weather drama at all.

Just in case, here are 10 ways to prepare your house and yard:

Have your roof fixed

Have a trusted roofer replace asphalt shingles or tiles that are missing or loose. Foam roofs should be checked for holes made by birds or splits in foam or asphalt covering.

If you’ve had leaks in the recent past, get the damage repaired or maybe even replace your roof. Areas around pipes, vents and other penetrations in your roof should be sealed.

Install gutters

Many Arizona homes don’t have any gutters at all, but if you’ve lived in your house a while, you know some areas of the house could use them – such as under the scuppers that drain water off a flat roof.

You want the gutters to pick up the water and drain it down off the roof to an area away from the house where it won’t cause foundation problems.

Clean off the roof

Maybe the roof is fine, but you’ve allowed leaves and other debris to build up in the valleys between different sections of your roof. If so, clean them out or have someone do it for you.

Prepare for power outages

Lightning strikes can happen during monsoon storms. In most cases, if a blackout occurs, power will come back on fairly soon.

But stock your home with flashlights, candles and matches that are easy to find in an emergency. Keep the phone number of your power company handy so you can check on the status of your neighborhood’s power.

Electrical panel

Label the different sections of your panel so that you can easily see where the circuit breakers are for each room or area of your house. That way, you can turn power back on more easily if a breaker trips during a storm.

Install a whole house surge protector

An electrician can hardwire a surge protector directly to your panel. This device will keep appliances and electronic equipment from being damaged during electric surges or power problems.

Use power strips as well for additional protection for important equipment. If you have more than one electric panel in your home, have a surge protector installed on each panel.

Prune and thin trees near your house

You don’t want branches sweeping over the roof that can damage tiles or shingles during a storm. You don’t want limbs breaking off and hitting the house or your car.

Be especially careful to trim eucalyptus trees and giant palm trees. Palm trees loaded with dead fronds can burn like torches if struck by lightning.

Repave the patio

If you have areas on your patio or around your house where monster puddles form during storms, you might redo the patio with permeable concrete pavers so that water drains off more quickly.

It’s also possible that you need to regrade portions of your lot. Have a landscape professional give you some advice.

Improve the drainage in your yard

Add drains to your driveways, sidewalks and patios. Divert the water to areas away from your house and away from your neighbor’s house.

Get rid of the dust

After a dust storm, change the air filters on your heating and air conditioning ducts. Wash down the patio and your car. Rinse off the outdoor compressor for your air conditioner.

Rosie on the House

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